Confessions of a Black Girl: What’s happening at Mizzou?

If you’ve been on social media lately, you’ve probably seen a dozen MU-related stories shared by Facebook friends or retweeted by someone you follow. You may have opened one of these long stories, scrolled through, and still didn’t feel like you understood what was going on. If that’s you, here’s what you need to know.

by Torie Richardson, editor-in-chief


Basically: University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe resigned Monday, and just a few hours later, Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin announced he would transition to a research role following the end of the year.


Why?: Students were outraged by Tim Wolfe’s seeming detachment from the increasingly prevalent acts of racism at the University of Missouri. These resignations come after a graduate student, Jonathan Butler, declared a hunger strike until the president resigned, and about 30 MU football players refused to play unless that same condition was met.


“Acts of racism”?: Last month, someone used feces to draw a swastika in one of the residence halls. “In another recent incident,” CNN reports, “a group of African-American students complained that a school safety officer didn’t aggressively pursue an apparently drunken white student who disrupted their gathering using a racial slur.”


Did Wolfe really need to resign?: Some people say that the president couldn’t have done much about the reported racism, and that he shouldn’t have had to resign. However, a video of Wolfe addressing systematic oppression made me understand why the students demanded his resignation. “I will give you an answer and I’m sure it will be a wrong answer,” Wolfe said when asked what “systematic oppression” meant. “Systematic oppression is because you don’t believe that you have the equal opportunity for success,” Wolfe said.


What is systematic oppression?: Systematic oppression: when laws, customs, practices, etc. in a society cause hardship to certain groups, whether on purpose or by accident. Example: the University of Missouri was established a long time ago (i.e. when people still have slaves). It was not built with black students in mind, and therefore, some black students claim they don’t feel a sense of belonging on campus.


Bottom line: Because of Wolfe’s reported apathy and lack of understanding toward minority students, students demanded his resignation in hopes of a replacement they could relate to and who would show more interest in their concerns.